Stray Souls is a game that seems to be aiming to fill the void of the absence of a next-gen Silent Hill. Even rumors of another Silent Hill has been swirling for some time, it doesn’t hurt to have another option to choose from. Developers Jukai Studio has recently dropped a demo that is now available on Steam. Stray Souls is just the working title of this new IP and it is subject to change before it launches. Gamers who are hankering for a good old-fashioned psychological horror game should look into this. There is some ambitious technology being implemented into this game that will hopefully deliver a new level of authenticity when it comes to terror. The story details are a little thin right now, but at least the Jukai Studio has delivered some plot points for gamers to digest.
The story is about Daniel, who is a teenager that somehow mysteriously inherited a house from his now-deceased estranged grandmother. Supernatural events begin to unfold within the dwelling, which is when Daniel meets a young girl named Martha. She apparently knows a lot about Daniel and his family which involves the odd occurrences that are happening around him. Players will take Daniel on a journey that will place him against malevolent spirits that are somehow related to him and intertwined with his past. This game is going the extra mile to give an authentic experience that hasn’t been reached in any other survival-horror game before. The demo that is currently available on Steam showcased a little bit of everything that this game has to offer. It may be a little rough about the edges, but the gameplay seems to be solid enough to garner some excitement toward survival-horror fans.
Jukai Studio is using the new Unreal Engine 5 in which has “metahuman technology.” Epic showcased this software earlier in which it allows developers to capture actual facial mocap. Hence, this will allow the characters in the game to not only look like real people but display a variety of real-time emotions. This will especially be true when horrifying events happen in the game. There will be a look of fear on the avatar during gameplay which will provide a much more grounded experience. The character of Daniel seems to move smoothly and the shooting mechanics are on point. Maybe not quite as smooth as on Alan Wake, but serviceable nonetheless. The demo seems to provide a good assortment of different pistols and items to play with. This, in turn, gives gamers a good taste of what to expect.
There will also be environmental puzzles to solve. Things like finding a key or a turn vault will be the norm throughout this adventure. Evidently, there will also be rooms where Daniel will need to turn on switches in a certain order and even move things around to acquire something. There will also be subtle traps that will break the eerie silence to freak out players. Things like police car sirens going off, for instance. Although there will be combat on a regular basis, Stray Souls is aiming to be more of a cerebral experience. Psychological horror is the key factor in this title and randomized things will happen with each playthrough to help keep things fresh. The environments are full of interactive elements that can be investigated. Chances are clues can be found to help with solving puzzles and delivering exposition for the story. Somewhat akin to the investigation mechanic in the inventory screen found in the Resident Evil series. Except, this is done in real-time. This game will unfold much like a novel. There will be copious amounts of dialogue to listen to and even branching conversations that will determine the ending of the game.
When it comes to Stray Souls, one element that gives this game an extra level of spookiness is the fact that it will involve the Ouija board. The developers documented some real-life situations that occurred with this infamous spiritual vessel of communication and implemented them into the story. It is currently not detailed on how this will play into the overall gameplay mechanics, but it could just be solely an optional thing to toy with. According to the demo, the environments seem to be fairly open, providing many avenues to explore. To add tension to the atmosphere, there will be jump scares and ominous music swelling in the background. The level design is bleak and unnerving. Of course, ammunition is sparse and players will need to really mind their aim. On top of that, this game will also be played through the eyes of other characters, as well.
Even though Daniel is predominately the main protagonist in Stray Souls, there will be some instances where players will control other people. This IP is mostly played through a third-person perspective, however, the game will switch to first-person while playing as various characters. This will supposedly enrich the narrative and help flesh out the lore with the story being told through different angles. Based on what was shown in the trailer and demo, there will be all manners of gnarly creature designs lurking throughout the story. In an early trailer, a ghostly apparition peers out of a window of a dilapidated house. Thus, weird otherworldly creatures attack Daniel in the demo. This game seems to explore the realm of the dead in a variety of ways.
As clearly indicated in the demo, the game is now in its Alpha stages of production. Even though this new IP has some potential, there’s still quite a bit of polish needed. Stray Souls isn’t really aiming to reinvent the wheel, but it certainly is trying to take things to the next level. At least in a technical aspect. Psychological horror is a sub-genre that isn’t going away anytime soon. The developers over at Jukai Studio are taking notes based on the feedback of the demo and are ironing things out accordingly. A release date hasn’t been locked down yet, but it will be coming out soon for the PC.